The Parliament consists of two Houses (the House of Representatives and the Senate), and the Queen, represented in Australia by the Governor General.

Work of the Parliament

Parliament makes laws, authorises the Government to spend public money, scrutinises government activities, and is a forum for debate on national issues.


The Senate is one of the two houses of the Australian Federal Parliament. It consists of 76 senators, twelve from each of the six states and two from each of the mainland territories. It shares the power to make laws with the other House of the Parliament, the House of Representatives.

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of Parliament and is sometimes called ‘the People’s House’ or the ‘house of government’. The party, or parties, that hold a majority of seats in the House form government. There are currently 151 Members of the House of Representatives who each represent an electorate.

Parliamentary Departments

The work of the Australian Parliament – its Members, Senators and parliamentary committees – is supported by four separate departments:

Note: Information about the legal framework for these four departments is contained in the Parliamentary Service Act 1999


There are a number of publications that explain the work of the Parliament, and the various practices and procedures of the chambers.


Find out about current jobs in the four parliamentary departments:

Education Resources

If you would like to know more about different aspects of the work of Parliament, the Parliamentary Education Office has a range of on-line material. Other material can be found at: